Anglian Water has admitted responsibility for a pollution incident in Haverhill’s Stour Brook last Tuesday (August 5) which led to the death of thousands of fish.
A problem at the company’s water recycling centre in the town led to a large amount of sewage entering the water.
Thousands of fish were killed, and warnings were given to dog walkers and anglers to stay away from the area,
Acording to the Environment Agency, the spill may have killed the entire fish population of the river for a three kilometre stretch south of Haverhill.
“We deeply regret that a problem with equipment at our Haverhill water recycling centre led to sewage entering the brook,” said Antony Innes from Anglian Water. “Our alarm systems alerted us to the problem immediately, and we dispatched engineers to the site to investigate the problem.
“Tankers have also been stationed at the site to help manage the situation. Repair work is already underway.”
Environment Agency workers were on the scene quickly, attempting to reoxygenate the water and rescue any living fish.
The Environment Agency is currently investigating the incident and will decide what action to take once further evidence has been collected.
They operate on a ‘polluter pays’ principle, suggesting that Anglian Water may have to contribute to the cost of the clean up and, perhaps, towards the re-stocking of the river.
There have already been calls for tougher action to be taken against Anglia Water.
“I want to know what Anglian Water will do to compensate the town,” said Suffolk County Councillor, Tony Brown. “They really need to be held to account over this.
“I’ve been going to East Town Park since I was a child. Year on year, it’s been thriving with fish. It’s an asset to Haverhill.
“Now there’s nothing left. Everything’s dead.”
Local fishermen told the Echo they had been complaining about outflow from the water recycling centre for years.
Echo reader, Simon Edwards, took to Facebook to share his views.
“The river biodiversity growth has been amazing,” he said. “And to have it wiped out by a company that is in charge of water is disgusting.
“I hope they’re hit with a big fine and made to pay for the restocking and regeneration of the river.
“They have spent thousands on the plant lately, surely they must have failsafes in place.”
Cllr Tony Brown agreed.
“I want some measures put in place to make sure this never happens again,” he said. “This shouldn’t happen in this day and age. It’s a horrendous thing for Anglian Water to have done.
“I think they should try to put the river right. They should re-stock the river and clear up the pollution.”
The Environment Agency has left the scene having ensured that oxygen levels in the river are back to a more normal level. It could, however, be many years before invertebrate life returns to the water.
“We take our environmental responsibilities incredibly seriously,” added Mr Innes. “We are doing everything we can to remedy this situation, and will continue to monitor the situation over the coming days so we can intervene immediately if we have to.”